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Assessing the Assessment

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

To say that I loved personality tests is like saying that Cookie Monster loves cookies. I would devour them. Taking tests that showed that I am an INFJ in the Myers-Briggs or a Ravenclaw in the Wizarding World would send me into days and days of deep reflection. However, I did not truly understand myself until I had to take the Energy Leadership Index Assessment as part of my coach training.

The Energy Leadership Index Assessment was created by iPEC and is offered only by ELI Master Practitioners. Only coaches who certify with iPEC are allowed to become ELI Master Practitioners. The first step in that process is taking the Assessment for ourselves and then receiving what's called a "debrief," which is a session with a coach to go though your Assessment results. The debrief takes and hour and a half and takes you on a journey of discovering where your energy is on a normal day and what happens to your energy when you are triggered or have an activated emotional response to a negative event or experience. It can also show you why it takes the time it takes for you to bounce back from these events and gives insights into what you can do to recover more quickly in the future. In other words, it's a tool that builds self-awareness you can actually apply to your life in powerful ways!

When confronted with what we call a catabolic (energy draining) experience (like having an issue come up at work or having my computer crash while taking a personality test, for instance), I would get stuck in feelings of anger, frustration, and I'd lose my focus for anything else, often for the rest of the day. If it was a really "big" issue, I might be stuck in a catabolic state for weeks before returning to what we call anabolic (uplifting) energy. The ELI not only pointed out my mindset during my triggering moments but also what I might do to push a pause button in the experience, become aware of the feelings activated, and to make small changes to my thoughts that would resulted in an almost immediate uplift in my energy.

Here's a specific example from my life. My 12-year-old has a hard time making decisions. If we go shopping, we now have to set a timer for how long she can spend making a decision on something because if we don't, we will be in Justice ALL day. This has been a pattern since she was a toddler. I vividly remember one day when she was 4 and couldn't decide if she wanted to stay upstairs or go downstairs. She stood at the top of the stairs, frozen in indecision. For whatever reason, this has become a trigger for me. Perhaps it's because I consider myself a punctual person and her indecision has affected my timeliness in the past, maybe it's a control issue, or maybe it's that feeling of overwhelming helplessness that swells when I sense that she won't let me help her in those moments. No judgment. It's simply a trigger for me and decisions are challenging for her.

Recently, she walked out of one of her after-school activities saying "I don't think I want to do this anymore." As her mom, I could have told anyone that she totally shouldn't be doing that particular activity anymore as she had been complaining about going to it for weeks. Although she was regularly reminded that she didn't have to continue, she'd always say she wanted to. But the fact that she was finally admitting that maybe she wanted to quit bore a significant difference. We launched into a dialog about the pros and cons of staying versus leaving, and it was SO obvious to me that she needed to leave based on her answers, and yet, she remained rooted in the same indecisive spot, like she was as a 4-year-old.

Pre-ELI, her indecision would have launched me into some Vintage Parenting methods: "If you can't decide, I'll decide for you!" Post-ELI, I took note of the feelings that came up for me as she continued to seem bewildered as to what to decide. I reminded myself to breath and focused on the thoughts that were attached to the feelings. Once I'd done that, I remained silent and simply listened or asked my daughter questions designed to get her to continue thinking deeply about this decision. After about 45 minutes, she suddenly said, "I want to quit!" "Okay," I said. "I'll help you make that happen." And with her permission, I wrote the email, read it to her, and with her approval, sent it to the head of the group.

I regard this experience as a win-win for us. She won because she got to experience making a big decision on her own without an authority figure telling her what she "should" do. And it was a win for me because I wasn't overrun by catabolic energy and could remain present with her.

The only negative thing about this ELI Assessment is that I have to admit, I don't take any personality tests anymore. Why would I when I feel like I've been handed the ultimate tool for becoming the person I've always wanted to be.

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